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HRH Prince Philip and the Côte D'Azur

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away on 9 April 2021, aged 99. We take a look back at his extraordinary life and his visits to the French Riviera.


HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, via Christian Etroisi FB page

As the male consort to the Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, Prince Philip remained faithfully by his wife's side for over sixty years of her reign. Throughout his life, from boyhood through his progression to young Navy Officer and finally to acting consort, he retained the unique, unconventional quirkiness of character for which he is remembered today, along with his love for the sea and environment.


The late Duke of Edinburgh was born on 10 June 1921 in the Greek island of Corfu, son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, who lived in Monte-Carlo towards the end of his life in 1944. Having completed his military training in the Royal Navy, the young Mountbatten Prince Philip enjoyed sailing in the sparkling waters of the Côte D'Azur, and he also visited the Château de la Napoule in the Alpes-Maritimes department while visiting his aunt, the Marchioness Nada Milford Haven, under the dazzling Mediterranean sun.


As a naval commander of the frigate HMS Magpie, Prince Philip first visited the Principality of Monaco in 1951, where he was invited to the Palace by Prince Rainier III to receive the Ordre de Saint-Charles, a dynastic order of knighthood in the Principality. 15 years later, the Duke of Edinburgh returned to Monaco for the 1966 Centenary of Monte-Carlo, during which an 'English Week' was hosted as part of the celebrations.

More recently, in 2013, the Duke met HRH Prince Albert II of Monaco at a gala dinner in Cambridge to mark the 100th anniversary of Royal Navy Captain Scott's famous Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic. Both Princes shared a passion for protecting the environment. After Prince Philip's death, Prince Albert II sent a sympathetic address to the Queen, saying, "Allow me to express to you, the members of the Royal Family and the British people, my most sincere condolences and my deep sympathy for your loss at this great time of sorrow."


Prince Philip and Prince Albert meet in Cambridge, 2013 © Prince's Palace of Monaco

Mayor of Nice, Christian Etroisi, also sent a heartfelt message to the Queen on behalf of the city, writing, "Expressing to Her Majesty the Queen the reverence and affection in which Her Majesty will ever be held by us, the citizens of Nice join hands to mourn the loss of an outstanding Prince. The special ties that unite our city to the UK reinforce this sadness, and I hope it is in the name of all of you that I extend our deepest condolences to Her Majesty the Queen, as well as His Royal Highness Prince Charles, who honoured Nice with his visit two years ago, and to the entire British Royal Family."


Prince Philip presents the prize for the Nice International Horse Racing Competition, 1967, via Christian Etroisi FB page. c.Archives de Nice

The funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, took place on 17 April at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, with many elements having been planned by the Duke himself. It was a ceremony rich in symbolism of his Greek heritage, British titles, military and naval service, with accompanying music chosen by the Duke and performed by buglers from the British Royal Marines. After Prince Philip's death, flags in the UK and across the world were flown at half-mast as countries and organisations paid their respects, including most recently at the Monte-Carlo Masters. Those at British royal residences remained that way until the day after the funeral.


- Georgina Findlay

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